It’s been almost two years since fire destroyed the first home I created for myself and my husband. Sean found the place and I moved from Kentucky to live there. I decorated, I cleaned, I learned to get over myself and deal with things like loneliness and uncertainty. Over time I developed ideas and systems and I was in great shape. I loved the apartment–it was filled with things that reminded me of my home back in Kentucky and beautiful in its own right, with a cathedral ceiling in the living room and a gorgeous view of the pond below.
It was home.
After we lost it, lost everything, we didn’t have a home. We lived with Sean’s parents. There was no place for us to go back to, no comfort zone. We stayed there perhaps a little too long, until finally I told Sean we had to move now.
It was I who found the new apartment. It costs much less and is in a good location. The building is still fairly new. Our management company is fast and helpful.
I wasn’t able to decorate right away, mainly because we didn’t have many possessions to move in, but also because I had a job and wasn’t able to spend entire days working on the apartment like I did when we first got married. So for months we have been accumulating things and I’ve been trying to put them in places that look good and make sense.
Some things are different. We spend most of our time in the living room now, whereas in the old apartment we could usually be found in the office. The office here is more of a second bedroom with a desk and a closet full of dry goods, paperwork, and stuff we couldn’t find another place for. It’s never felt cozy, and I haven’t had time to deal with that.
Since there was only one desk and I was using it, Sean took up a position on the kotatsu in the living room, and he’s been there ever since. Now he says he doesn’t want to have a desk, but prefers to stay right where he is. To manage some of his clutter, I bought him a little black file cabinet.
Meanwhile, I got lonely sitting in there by myself, so I moved my laptop out onto the coffee table we’re keeping for Brooke. The desk wasn’t particularly comfortable to sit at, so this really isn’t too different. When my back hurts, I sit on the floor, and when I’m bored with that I sit on the loveseat Brooke gave us.
We have a large, old TV given to us by Robert and Julia, and a cheap DVD player I bought at Wal-Mart, and we spend much of our time at home sitting at our computers and watching DVDs. Sometimes I feel like I’m trying to escape into another world rather than dealing with the things that need to be done, or even the things I think I want to do.
The TV sits against the wall shared by our master bedroom. With that; the fact that the door is right next to it, allowing sound through the cracks; and Sean’s late-night schedule, it is often difficult for me to sleep soundly. I’m sure the same is true for him when I’m up during the day. Complicating matters is the fact that Sean will often sleep on the couch next to his kotatsu, meaning when I get up I feel like I have to be quiet. So I can’t even retreat into a DVD.
I’ve Twittered about my discontent lately, how I feel like I haven’t really had a summer, how I have trouble waking up in the morning.
Today, while sitting at my laptop in the living room of our apartment, I thought, “I want to go home.”
And it finally hit me. I feel the same about this place as I did about Cheryl and Reid’s. It’s not home. It’s a place where I’m keeping my stuff, a base to operate out of. When I’m not here, I don’t wish I was. Even when I say I want to go home, when I finally get here I don’t feel relieved. I feel resigned.
Part of it, I’m sure, is due to some actual problems with the apartment, such as the layout and our noisy neighbors and the fact that we have no view whatsoever. But I think I’ve also failed to take ownership of this place and the things inside it because I feel like none of it belongs to me. How much of it was given to us, and how much of it was purchased using money that was given to us? What here can I say is truly mine?
I hope when our lease is up next spring that we are able to move. Even though I have an idea of what’s bothering me, I don’t feel like I want to take ownership of this place. I want to start fresh, and put more time into picking the spot and the things I want to go in it. I want to find a place that doesn’t have the problems this place does. I want to find something cute, just large enough to suit our needs.
I want to stop wishing I was back in our old apartment, with all our old stuff.
I want to find home.